Angelo Gobbi on Absolute’s spirit of innovation
Absolute President Angelo Gobbi explains why the Italian builder is inspired by the need to keep improving its boats along with its in-house design and production systems.
Absolute’s Asian dealers include Hong Kong-based Absolute Marine
Every creative process is driven by an inspiration of some sort. For Absolute Yachts’ designers, there exists just one well from which our work springs from – innovation.
The company’s business model requires the entire lifecycle of our products to be controlled by our own hands. This is rather unusual for the pleasure boat industry, where a handful of renowned naval architects dominate the mainstream creation of new yachts.
In Piacenza, an inland city in Italy’s northwest, my colleagues and I walk a different path, where consistency and independence motivate us more than anything else. It has worked, since this approach has rewarded Absolute with two-digit percentage growth throughout the last decade.
Gobbi has been President of Absolute since 2008, having founded Cantieri Nautici Gobbi in the 1960s
Sergio Maggi and myself lead the R&D team, which includes not only skills of genuine Italian style and décor but also deep knowledge of advanced engineering and lean manufacturing processes. Yet the leitmotiv Absolute has expressed since its birth in 2002 is innovation, as shown by recent developments.
At the Boat Builder Awards during METS 2018, our exclusive Integrated Structural System (ISS) won the ‘Innovation in a Production Process’ category. ISS is an effective, efficient method for creating the lightweight, robust, vibration-free, modular, scalable and serviceable structural body of our Navetta and Fly series of yachts.
The trick is as easy as only truly gifted ideas can be. At the early stage of manufacturing, the hull and deck are laminated in their own moulds, while an advanced 3D CNC machine prepares the components for the multiaxial internal grid.
Absolute’s new models included the Generation 2021 version of the 50 Fly
Once the latter is fully assembled and stiffened by structural bonding, it is inserted into the hull, where it is coupled to the stringers with millimetric precision. Then the deck is put on top, again with high-precision coupling with the structural grid, and eventually all these three pieces are sealed to one another.
The result delivers a lightweight body with all the benefits listed previously. Also, the internal grid deploys all the expected features – tongue-and-groove, holes, tracks and more – to host all the components of on-board systems such as pipes, hoses, electric junction boxes, lamps and so on, thus bringing a highly industrialised quality.
Another impressive feature is that hull number one of each new model is fully engineered before laying the first gelcoat surface on the moulds. No kind of improvisation is expected nor needed. Our technical office develops detailed handbooks for all the workshops and manufacturing departments during the early stages of design.
This is almost impossible when an outsourced, third-party designer drives the main development. It becomes totally unfeasible when one external consultant moves independently on external skins and layouts, and another on internal systems and arrangements. That’s why Absolute keeps full control of the products’ definition, concept design, engineering and manufacturing, under their own watch.
This also allows the company to have an incomparably short time to market. From the first pencil sketches to hull one hitting the water, Absolute spends no more than 12 months on units, even as large as 73ft. It also enables an impressive number of new products to appear each season, with no less than 28 truly new models hitting the marketplace in the past nine years.
Furthermore, during the next lifecycle of every product – essentially the season after its launch – Absolute has shown itself to be reactive by anticipating the new trends and adapting the existing products to new components, technologies and materials that become available.
The beach club sofa can be converted into a double bed
In one year, no less than 1,000 ‘minor’ improvements were made to existing models, with in-house product management allowing yachts to always reflect the most up-to-date innovations available.
ISS delivers not only the technical qualities mentioned above but also allows daring design choices not viable otherwise, such as awesome master cabins in the bow and full-beam VIP cabins midships, where you’ll find the master cabin on most other vessels.
It also enables large windows and windscreens for the main deck, the largest flybridges for yachts of their size, extensive use of sliding doors for the lower-deck accommodation, full-size square or rectangular king and queen-size beds in every cabin, and many other rare features.
Late last year, we launched the game-changing Navetta 64 featuring an aft beach club that converts into the fourth ensuite stateroom. This year, new models will include the 60 Fly and the 48 Coupé, the first model in our new range featuring solar power. To cut a long story short, for Absolute, innovation really is of the essence.
Gobbi has been President of Absolute SpA since 2008, having joined the company two years earlier. He has been working in the marine industry since the early 1960s and was the founder of Cantieri Nautici Gobbi.
Scheduled to debut in Asia in 2021, Absolute’s new Navetta 64 has the clean, vertical exterior lines that characterise this distinctive range. However, on a design where logic and intelligence rule, a poetic touch shows that even the most rational of us appreciate the romance of life at sea.